Simon and Sarah share their experiences of coming to QEF's Care and Rehabilitation Centre for respite care - part of a long journey of recovery with QEF, after Simon had a traumatic brain injury in August 2018.
Simon was a victim of a sabotaged bike trail and as well as broken bones in his back and neck and facial injuries, the brain injury left him with left side neglect. After a lengthy stay in hospital Simon came to QEF for neuro rehabilitation and his wife Sarah was by his side every day, eventually becoming his primary carer when he was discharged home.
In October 2020 Simon came back to QEF for a week of respite care.
"Having been a client at QEF Banstead in September 2018, QEF's Care and Rehabilitation Centre at Leatherhead was the only option as far as I was concerned, for respite. I felt safe and in good hands from the check-in process led by Muriel and her team, to my discharge a week later. I did have a fall whilst there, but it was dealt with efficiently and professionally.
I found the chance to meet others extremely stimulating as life post stroke can be very isolating. I would definitely like to return and would recommend the facility to anyone considering respite care. "
Sarah says; "My initial thought of leaving Simon for a week or two was something I never thought I'd do or need, but 3 years into life with an acquired brain injury as part of the relationship had meant it became a real need. A strain was showing between us to be honest and I didn't really know why. My sister had experienced respite in Australia, coping with her husband who was suffering from Alzheimer's and I began to see the appeal for Simon and myself, as my sister seemed so recharged.
As the days approached to dropping Simon at the CRC, we both began to really look forward because of our history and connection to QEF over the previous 3 years. The check-in process was seamless and the place itself was so impressive. Sadly Simon had a fall but this was no-one's fault; they happen. But it was belt and braces after that and he received great care, as well as physio and psychology session. Knowing Simon was interacting with others in a covid friendly set up was reassuring and uplifting for me. We spoke each day and could share our individual news about our days.
I absolutely loved the liberating feeling it gave me and planned enough to enjoy the company of others but factored in some rest time for myself. It's tiring and draining being a full-time carer, no matter who it's for. I didn't visit Simon whilst he was in CRC as that seemed to defeat the purpose and I didn't want to do that ' goodbye ' again that we'd both done on the Sunday fairly successfully! Collecting him was something I looked forward to and that was all I wanted to feel.
We will definitely use CRC again as I'm very aware that I need to keep physically and mentally fit in order to care for Simon as best I can. I didn't feel guilty during my week. It was vital to keep us strong and came at the right time. It was the only destination for respite to us. Having that connection and history meant we could hit the ground running and start enjoying the break immediately. We both bought away different gains but it gave us both a boost and reassurance that it's always there when life becomes too tough."